My Work Translated Into Italian

A White person is seen from behind, mostly out of frame. They sit in a field reading an eBook

My work on “What is Applied Sociology?,” has been translated into Italian and published by Sociologia Clinica and Homeless Book publishers. The translation is published as a free eBook, Che cos’è la sociologia applicata una breve introduzione.

Check it out!

My work has been previously translated into French and a forthcoming publication will be in Persian.

Interview: Interracial Friendships

Two friends sit at a restaurant talking intently

Below is an excerpt from a new interview with me, by Santilla Chingaipe, published on ABC Life.

“Research shows that white people do not have many racial minority friends,” says Sydney-based applied sociologist Zuleyka Zevallos. Dr Zevallos points to one US study that found for the average white person, over 90 per cent of their social networks are also white. “And the average white person will only have one Black friend, one Asian friend, or whatever.” […]

“One of the areas where friendships are less explicit is around race,” Dr Zevallos says. “There are lots of norms about race that people bring into their friendships, but by virtue of being a racial minority, Aboriginal people, and other people of colour who are migrant and refugee background people, will be more aware and have spent a lot more time thinking about these things.” […]

What happens when friends don’t want to engage with conversations around race? Dr Zevallos says that is indicative of how narrowly race is understood in Australia.

“It allows them [white people] to opt out whenever they feel like it. When they get tired and they don’t want to think about the benefits of the way society is organised around race,” she says.

So, what does a healthy interracial friendship look like? Dr Zevallos says it requires all parties to do the work. But for racial minorities, she argues that includes placing boundaries on friendships.

“Nobody, especially racial minorities, should be expected to be educating people one-on-one on race when there are millions of free resources online,” she says. “Just as we learn to drive or just as we learn new skills … if we’re not willing to make the time to learn about race, then I would probably say that we do not deserve to have the benefits — the warmth, the love that comes from interracial friendships — until we’re willing to do that work.”

Read more on ABC Life.

Interview: Pandemic Misinformation

I spoke with Angeline Chew Longshore from The Mauimama about my article, “Using sociology to think critically about Coronavirus COVID-19 studies.” We talked about how I was motivated to write about the sociology of science because I saw so many people struggling to make sense of the pandemic. We discussed how national cultures are impacting responses to the virus, why precarious employment in healthcare is causing high rates of infection, and how we can better check whether the information we hear is credible.

The pandemic is scary, and so much conflicting advice can be difficult to sort through. A quick way in which we can make sense of what we think we hear in news and social media is to ask four questions:

  1. Why do I think this is true?
  2. Where did I get this information?
  3. Whose interest does it serve?
  4. Does this maintain the status quo?

If something seems too neat, or convenient, or only helps a narrow group in power, it is best we dig deeper into the theories, methods and conclusions. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Watch the video below, for which you can turn on captions. Otherwise read a transcription for accessibility further down.

Pandemic Misinformation – CoronaMama Zoom Room. Via Mauimama Magazine
Continue reading Interview: Pandemic Misinformation

Interview: Moral Panic

Oil painting picture of my face. I have short black hair, wear a colourful mask and colourful top with drawings of women

The past of the month has proved especially busy. I’ve done a few media interviews and launched a new webseries with Associate Professor Alana Letin, called Race in Society. More on these projects in the coming days. Today, I look back on my interview with 3CR Diaspora Blues about my article, Pandemic, race and moral panic. Listen below, with a transcription for accessibility further down.

3RC Diaspora Blues Moral Panic with Dr Zuleyka Zevallos
Continue reading Interview: Moral Panic

Virus, community, activism

Oil painting image of protesters at a Black Lives Matter Protest in Sydney. They are wearing surgical masks during the COVID-19 pandemic

Since I last wrote you, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has obviously transformed the world. I went into voluntary lockdown in early March, and Australia went into official lockdown at the end of March. I’ve been writing a lot on the pandemic on my social media, especially on Twitter and on Facebook and Instagram stories, as well as on my research blog.

Today, from 2.30pm-3pm AEST, you’ll be able to hear about some of this work on COVID-19. I did an interview with Bigoa and Baasto on 3CR Diaspora Blues about my research on Pandemic, race and moral panic. Below is a preview of the interview.

Continue reading Virus, community, activism

Race and education

A drawing of a woman of colour holding up her mobile taking a photograph

Today, read about an interview with me on the social construction of race and a forthcoming presentation on vocational education and training.

Race

I was interviewed by Metro (UK) for their series, The State of Racism:

“…Race is a social construction,” says Dr. Zuleyka Zevallos, Adjunct Research Fellow at Swinburne University. “Race is a system of classification and stratification, based on perceived biological differences. Race is stratification because these categories rank some groups as superior to others. It’s not based on some innate and immutable scientific fact.”

Read more on Metro UK.

Continue reading Race and education

The Rest of You Can Go Next

A yellow sign with a black arrow points to the right. It is hung on a wooden fence, with three plants of variable height in the forefront

On 6 February, I presented at the Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association (ACRAWSA) Conference. My paper was titled, ‘The Rest of You Can Go Next: Using Intersectionality in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Programs.’ The distinguished keynote was delivered by Professor Patricia Hill Collins, author of Black Feminist Thought, and, along with Sirma Bilge, co-author of Intersectionality. It was a wonderful conference. I felt good about my paper. My summary of the event will be on my blog soon.

In the meantime, here is my abstract:

This paper addresses the racial silences that women of colour navigate when developing and managing equity, diversity and inclusion programs. I draw on a critical autobiography of memory and trauma (Thompson and Tyagi 1996), analysing the impact of my career on my life as a woman of colour. Of my two-decades working as a sociologist, I’ve spent 14 years employed across public service, not-for-profit, and consultancy contexts. I reflect on the evolution of managerialism, which is increasingly eager to be seen as responsive to intersectionality, whilst remaining hostile to anti-racism (Ahmed 2017). I outline the barriers, negotiation and resistance strategies used when delivering public programs intended to serve marginalised communities, whilst simultaneously challenging racism, sexism and other workplace discrimination. I show how intersectionality is deployed in corporate branding, and the impact of diluting the race component of intersectionality from ‘equity, diversity and inclusion’ programs. Intersectionality provides a critical framework for exploring how race and gender simultaneously impact legal, economic and other institutional outcomes (Crenshaw 1989). These dynamics are disparately experienced by Aboriginal women and femmes, other Black people, and other migrants (Bottomley, de Lepervanche and Martin 1991; Collins and Bilge 2016; Moreton-Robinson 2000). Here, I focus on the racial, gendered and mental health costs of delivering social change.

I hope to finalise a peer reviewed paper on this soon, and then we can expect the usual glacial delay on a forthcoming publication. Until then, I’m getting ready to publish a resource about evidence-based actions institutions can take using intersectionality, to improve equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility. Keep an eye on my blog, The Other Sociologist, for this over the coming days.

Sociology of Gender and Diversity in Science

Sociology for Gender and Diversity in Science by Zuleyka Zevallos

Over the past couple of months, I have been using sociology to show how everyday experiences of sexism and racism feed into the educational and career trajectories of women and minorities in various disciplines within Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Here I include summaries of my writing from recent times, which show how social policy can dramatically impact on women’s educational outcomes. I’ve also covered how childhood socialisation impacts on girls’ transition from school to university. Experiences in higher education are also gendered, that is, culture shapes how women and men think about what happens to them at university. We see this clearly in relationships with thesis supervisors and informal socialising, as well as in more formal processes in administration. I’ve also highlighted some progress in diversity, namely the appointment of a lesbian technology expert, Megan Smith, who now holds a key role with the American government. Despite this achievement, various controversies in STEM related to social media use by scientists, research on women and high profile science events signify that despite strides forward, women and minorities are still the targets of inequality and marginalisation.

Sociology for Gender and Diversity in Science

Continue reading Sociology of Gender and Diversity in Science

Sociology for Diversity

Diversity has been an ongoing theme of my research, since I conducted my Honours and PhD theses and my subsequent research on migration, intercultural communication and how gender affects industrial practices. Lately I’ve been working on diversity issues in science and business. This includes how social science can be used to improve management of multicultural workplaces, and how gender diversity is important to the Internet. There is a lack of diversity in sociology that also needs attention. Our traditions still privilege the knowledge of White researchers from Europe and North America (more on this another time), but we also have a narrow academic vision of what it means to practice sociology. Similarly other sciences are structured around the skills and knowledge of White middle class men. Here’s an overview of my recent writing on these issues.

Sociology for Diversity
Sociology for Diversity

Continue reading Sociology for Diversity

Sociology for Women

I had always planned to use this website to collate my various writing and social media, to have them all in one place. I’ll now bring  you a weekly update on my current writing as well as a look at past posts from my different blogs and communities. I’ll organise the articles based on themes. This week is focused on my sociological writing about women’s issues. First, an overview on what I’ve been writing lately.

Scientific literacy requires sustained engagement. Support Applied Science & Public Outreach.
Scientific literacy requires sustained engagement. Support Applied Science & Public Outreach.

Over on my research blog, The Other Sociologist, I’ve written about How Media Hype Hurts Public Knowledge of Science. I discuss how scientists can better support public education by critiquing poor science reporting in the news. A recent example involved the media reporting that most people think that astrology is a science. This “factoid” came from a large study by the American National Science Foundation, but the results were quoted out of context and needed scientific critique. The broader study actually shows that the public do not really understand what scientists do, how our research is funded and the outputs of our work. This lack of knowledge undermines the public’s general understanding and trust in science. I argued that more scientists can get involved in diverse outreach activities to support public learning. This is part of a long-standing series I’ve been writing on how to improve public science education. Read more my blog.

Sociology and Critical Thinking
A sociology degree provides critical thinking & persuasive interpersonal communication skills.

On Sociology at Work, I talked about How Sociology Class Discussions Benefit Your Career. I used this post to highlight how the group work we do during an undergraduate degree trains students for the types of activities they’ll carry out as applied researchers outside academia. This includes dealing with clients, running community consultations and thinking critically on our feet. Learn more.

The rest of this post is about my most recent writing on gender equality in business and in science and technology. Enjoy! Continue reading Sociology for Women